Insatiable Crimes

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• 12 •

V I N C E N Z O

I’ve always had a penchant for the darkness. Messy blood and pleasing deaths. Or in other words, things that were considered immoral. The deadly sins.

It was addictive in a way, the darkness, leaving you craving for more. More and more and more until you were caught up in the sadistic cycle of pain— give or take. Full on addicted to the screams and the cries. Infatuated with the expressions of terror. All the misery caused by me.

Yet, not even the sickest parts of my imagination could conjure up an image like this. Of this.

This woman.

My eyes narrowed as she made herself comfortable, going as far as to pour herself a two-piece Medusa Lumiere glass of red wine.

Her actions screamed arrogance. The tilt of her lips did too.

The sight of the swirling liquid made my throat ache, bringing back my raging thirst from hours ago. Porca miseria. I swallowed roughly, barely managing to tear my eyes away from the liquid. I had gone longer without anything in my body— which was true. But it doesn’t make the thirst any less bearable. My throat burned in response.

The she-devil smiled knowingly.

Fucking hell.

“Don’t worry, Capo,” Her glinting eyes tracked mine down. “You’ll be treated to many kind hospitalities. After all, you’re my guest.” Honeyed venom drizzled in her tone, sounding as appealing as getting shot in the balls. “And I proud myself to be a very charitable host.”

And I proud myself to be the easter fucking bunny in disguise.

Her fingers twirled the stem of the glass, burgundy liquid sloshing rhythmically. “The sooner you answer my questions, the sooner the chains are off your body to do whatever you please.” She eyed my frame thoughtfully. “Unless you’d prefer me to make you drink?”

Over. My. Dead. Fucking. Body.

There’s only so much humiliation a man can take. My jaw tightened. “Ask.”

She smiled then, even though there was nothing remotely humorous in the situation. The turn of her lips was condescending through and through.

And damn me if I didn’t want to bend her over and spank her ass raw for it.

She narrowed her eyes, angling herself straight. At least one of us could. My hands clenched into fists, triggering my restraints to chime like Christmas fucking bells. Irritation tasted bitter in my throat.

Bitter and resentful.

“Why did you send your men after me?”

That was her first question? My eyes ran over her face, looking for any signs of mockery. I found none. The words were spoken with such emptiness, one would think that she was least interested in the answer. The foreign emotion on her face was enough for questions to arise in my own head.

Was this a ploy from her end? Watching her expression carefully, realisation struck.

They weren’t telling her anything.

Disbelief took over my previous irritation, one I masked adequately well. Had she no idea whatsoever of what was going on?

I knew better now. She’d kill for the answers. The answers not one person gave her.

And that was my hold over her. Knowledge. It felt good to have leverage over her. Almost good enough to make me feel relaxed— back in control.

Almost.

I couldn’t forget the fact that I was in the enemy land. And if that wasn’t enough, I was eye to eye with deception, if it had a face.

One wrong word and the next bullet would be through my fucking heart. Even if my brotherhood could destroy her little mafia in no time.

“To kill you.” I kept my thoughts to myself, being blatant and honest instead.

Xena sighed, probably rethinking our deal. Our stupid deal. It was surprising how she’d bought my ’a chain for an answer’ bullshit. As if I cared two shits about my restraints. I knew my brothers were close enough waiting for the next word. My next move on the chessboard. Castle kings fucking side.

Playing it safe. For now.

Till I got a few of my own answers, starting with why? What was their motive by keeping her in the dark?

“No shit. Why do you want me dead?”

“Is there truly anyone who does not want you dead? Non credo.” My fingers twitched in mirth at the look she shot at me. Someone was not liking my answers.

Tossing her head back, she downed the remaining liquid, holding my eyes to her own. I watched as a bead of the crimson liquid rested on her bottom lip. A slight movement on her part and it would drip down her lips, slowly. Tantalizingly.

Flickering my gaze off the bitter, unwanted temptation, my eyes fell to the chains. I was a captive. Her captive. And I’d do well to remember that. Tautening my arm I watched my chains contract in sync with my skin, digging deeper, cutting off the oxygen supply. My veins popped out with the pressure I was exerting, increasing the dull ache to an intense burning sensation.

A breath of air broke free from my mouth and the tension in my tendons slackened.

The placement of the restraints was on purpose, I noted with minimal awe. It was right above the gunshot wound— not enough to cause splintering pain—but enough for me to be aware of the ache. Mastery.

“How far are you willing enough to get those chains off your body, I wonder.”

My eyes lifted back to hers. Her musings were of no interest to me, but the familiar streak of challenge in her gaze did it for me.

My tone was patronising. Cruel. And I had no regard for it. “And how far are you willing to go for the answers not one person of your organization could give you?”

Using her weakness of the unknown against her. My words hit their intended mark. It was the tightening of her lips gave her away. I bit back an amused chuckle. She could pretend my words didn’t affect her, but at the end of the day, it was her eyes that gave it away. Always. Those damn enthralling eyes— full of evoked fire. Alive and lively.

“Answering my questions with questions.” The raise of her brows was different this time. Something unnoticeable in her expression changed. “Deflection is truly an art.”

“One I had mastered finely well.”

That was not the answer she was looking for.

I had no time to wonder why a knife was sailing towards me, much less question when she brought it out. The chains held me in place.

They held me securely captive as it made contact with its intended destination— just a couple of inches below my gunshot wound. My body jerked. Spluttered. Shook.

And then stiffened.

Pain.

That was all I knew.

I will not show any weakness.

Flares of hot agony spasmed in my body, harsh and relentless. And needed. Much needed. I could have welcomed it with open arms.

I wanted, no, needed the pain to wake me up from whatever the fuck type of chokehold this woman in front had me in. My jaw tightened as pressure in my arm doubled, with the weight of the chains pressing down on my wounds— eyes flickering, blackness clouded my vision, never too far away.

I cannot show any weakness.

Stone cold fingers grabbed my jaw, jerking me roughly to face her. Her eyes were blackened pits, not a visible emotion in them. Soulless. There was a visible coldness in that blank look of hers, eyes narrowing, a war waging in them.

A war long lost.

Watching her atop my lashes, my eyes flared in recognition, knowing the beast— the monster in her eyes, all too well.

The same one I fought within me.

After all, those fucking monsters were never under the bed or hidden in the closet. Far from it. My monster resided within me. Consuming me off every breath I take.

Living off me— my pain, my sufferings.

I see one every time I look into the mirror.

And now I watched it in her gaze. In her.

We weren’t so different after all…

So, this was her. This was the unfeeling Xena without any shields of morbid humour and infuriating antagonisms.

Her voice was low, unmistakeable darkness lingering in. “I never miss.”

She was talking about her throw.

And I did not doubt that.

She looked absolutely deadly. Inhumane.

As soon as it had come, she blinked once, stepping away. The moment was broken. A rupture in her perfectly maintained sheathing. She looked lost— with a distant look in her gaze, as if she was actually far away, and not in this moment with me. Locking the monster in its cage, far away.

And then her trademark smirk was slid back into place, arrogance gripping her features.

Fake.

But it wouldn’t fool me again. Not when I had seen the seen the strain in her armour, and the truth was a neon ‘go sign’ flashing in front of my eyes.

Fake. It was all fake.

Her antagonism, her sweet threats.

There was someone totally different lying under that. Someone breakable, if not broken. Someone human.

… Or somebody even more nefarious.

This was my calling— the sign I had been waiting for all along.

The relish of a conquest was beyond description. It was sweet, and rich, and ripe. Inexpressible.

One assignment done.

Victory was sweet, but the scent of her blood would be sweeter. Riper.

It was time for my second one. One that would take me more skill and even more time to master.

I’d break her. I’d wreck her.

Slowly. Leisurely at my pace.

I’d destroy her all.

I didn’t mind the chaos. It kept me in line. Or in my words, I was just repaying the favour. A favour that had been long since coming.

She watched my shirt soak in the blood, white shirt now sopping red. Her defiant eyes met mine, smile razor sharp.

Hostility tasted pungent, abhorrence ran deep.

Her knife, my back.

My gun, her fucking head.

hey x, i got a low star review recently, saying that xena seems pretty kiddish. can a couple of you give me your honest opinion on the subject? i was trying to make her seem psychotic, but ig it backfired. i’ll try to work on my writing.

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